Whilst my flight back to Munich last week wasn’t exactly the emotional meltdown as witnessed my fellow easyjet passengers in October, leaving Scotland certainly wasn’t pleasant. Despite having convinced myself and my parents that I ‘needed’ a three-week long winter break away from Germany, it just didn’t seem like I had enough time in Scotland.
However, I didn’t have much time for an early onslaught of homesickness – I arrived in Munich all of 2 hours before my first class of 2011. As I’d only slept for around 6 hours, I took in even less of German criminal law than usual, but it was good to immediately get back into life here. Although things are, for exchange students, often a little crazy, I like that I now have little routine things throughout the week which made settling back into Munich a lot easier than I thought it would be. I’ve been back in Deutschland for a week and it’s passed really quickly thanks to Wednesday’s usual catch-up in Starbucks after criminal law (we’re always in desperate need of caffeine after the weekly 8am class), dinner with the others who live in my remote part of Munich, and session’s in the computer lab which resulted in more Christmas gossip than studying.
Unfortunately almost every second of this week, other than the activities mentioned above/sleeping/rediscovering German food, has been spent studying. Examangst is an increasingly dominant part of this semester and with the first exam 20 days away I’ve been subjecting to myself to the hell of revising German law, in German, and, as I’ve realised that I can’t spend half the time of the actual exams with my head in a dictionary, a lot of related vocabulary. ERASMUS is just peachy, but I’m not going to pretend that studying in another language isn’t a bit of a nightmare sometimes. My German is reasonable but not fantastic so I’ll assume that life is a bit easier for better linguists than myself, but prepare for some long, hard study sessions and yearning for the day when you’re back in Edinburgh and revision doesn’t involve overuse of google translate.
After a particularly intense studying session on Saturday (I think the only human contact I had was skyping my mum), I figured I had done enough to afford the time off to visit Salzburg with the exchange society. The society organises the occasional day trip to cities around Munich, which involves a stressed-out German student herding a hundred or so ERASMUS students onto a Deutsche Bahn train, around a city, and back to Munich. They’re always a bit hectic, but a very cheap and cheerful way to see more of Germany.
Austria was lovely – it’s similar to Germany but has a fairly distinct culture of it’s own. I’m no expert of course – today was only my second trip to the most German country after Germany, and my host country is still very much capable of surprising me. I realised soon after I arrived in Munich that the stereotype that Germans are slightly neurotic and overly organised was pretty much entirely deserved, but I though the had their limits. Witnessing a Bavarian student using one of the clothes-folding contraptions that Sheldon has in the Big Bang Theory was a bit of an eye-opener. I kind of want to track one down in a German IKEA, perhaps once exam hell is over.